Home computers discover rare star
By putting their home computers to work when they would otherwise be idle, three "citizen scientists" have discovered a rare astronomical object.
The unusual find is called a "disrupted binary pulsar"; these pulsars can be created when a massive star collapses.
The discoverers, from the US and Germany found the object with the help of the [email protected] project.
It asks users to donate time on their computers, allowing them to be used for searching through scientific data.
This type of project is known as "distributed computing". [email protected] harnesses the power of home machines in order to process large amounts of data.
Credited with the discovery are Chris and Helen Colvin, both information technology professionals from Iowa, US, and systems analyst Daniel Gebhardt from Mainz in Germany.
Their computers, along with 500,000 others from around the world, are being used to analyse data for [email protected]
Users download a screensaver which, among other things, shows the area of sky being processed.
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